Postcards from my Past / 8 North Wales slate mining

My postcards are taking no sensible order – my original intention was to have them in chronological order, but I keep discovering things that I forgot to slot in in the appropriate place! So the last postcard was from Rheims – Geux a couple of decades or so ago, and we are now travelling further back in time almost 20 years prior.

Manod Mines

A drizzly summer day in the foothills of Snowdonia, low cloud and mist clinging to the tops of the hills. A group of us is walking from Youth Hostel to Youth Hostel in North Wales, having just finished school. The details of this particular day are lost in the mists of time, but I recall that it was to be a walk of around 15-18 miles that day. Looking at the OS map, we chose a route that would take us past some old mine workings. Two of the lads were good at translating the map readings to the terrain in front of us, which was handy given the weather conditions.

I always love that moment when traces of the past unfold in front of you…. That day, we rounded a bend in the road, and there was the main mine building:

Approaching Manod mine

We walked about the site past this building a bit, and I took a few photographs (film camera in those days, so not many images). I just wish I had taken more! There was so much wonderful old machinery lying about…..wasted opportunity as these places have either more or less disappeared, or been turned into over sanitised museums, alas. These images have deteriorated over time, but I have managed to get some reasonable results thanks to digital wizardry.

Rust and decay, Manod detritus

Continuing our walk, we were to find more old buildings, and I wish we could have stayed longer, but the weather was closing in a bit and we had a fair distance to walk…plus, I was the main person entranced by all this!!

The remains of Manod mine

Looking out



  1. Great memories accompanying the equally great images. I love that ‘blue’ in the slate.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. What an eye you’ve always had. I love this tale of young Sue, and the humorously plaintive “I was the only person entranced…” you evoke the day beautifully, in both words and images.

    • Sue

      Thank you, Meg! I like your comment re: the plaintively humorous me! Well, no-one else was as captivated as me, and of course that does lead to compromise! I want to get some of. These things down, so I have something for my dotage 😉😉

  3. I can just imagine the others… ‘get a wiggle on, Sue! It’s all falling down!’ 🙂 🙂 And wet, dreary and grey. Beauty in the eye of the beholder personnified. 🙂

  4. Sue How wonderful that you took photos, as many would not have seen the beauty in the old ruins and that you have managed to save them. And what a wonderful experience to have visited them in their decayed state, before possibly being made sterile for tourists 🙂 Lynne

  5. Emilio Pasquale

    You would not have been the only person entranced by all this if I had been there, too. We would never have finished the walk before night, or the rain, had fallen.

  6. Lovely, Sue…and wonderfully moody shots.

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